Saturday, January 31, 2015

Links: "Woodstock" Documentary Songs

I love this documentary, this music is before my time but I enjoy it so much. There is so much heart, so much feeling, so much raw energy in it. Here are my 4 favourite song moments in the documentary "Woodstock". If you have never seen these check them out. You should also consider watching the entire movie, it really gets into what the 60s were about. As a side note, the Richie Havens song "Freedom" was ad libbed and made up on the spot on the Woodstock stage. He was inventing the lyrics in the long guitar intro.

This period in world history would have been a great fricking time to be a documentary photographer. Wow, I wish I could go back in time and create photos in that era.

Dad Dream

Had another dad dream. In this one like some in the past dad was happy and walking again. He even jumped down off the back of a car and maintained his balance. I do not remember much else, except that I hugged and told him he was a great example for me.

I will probably continue to have dreams of dad for the rest of my life. Today is better than dream stuff, I get to talk to the real man, am going to go visit him before work. Yesterday before work I told him I would have 8 photos of him in his part of the show (1 more than before). That we were expecting 100 or more guests and that there might be a CBC radio interview. He was happy to hear all of that stuff.

Mom is going to rent him a hospital style bed for the house, which will make life a bit easier and more pleasant for my father. It should come sometime next week, I need to clear a space for it across from the TV. Tuesday when the exhibition is completely hung and waiting for the guests, I can finally relax and spend more time with dad, am looking forward to that.

One interesting thing I have noticed with all my visits to dad this year. When I arrive I usually meet mom first, I can tell by the tone of her voice immediately if dad has had a good or bad day. Moms mood tells me everything before I meet dad. If she is down, if her voice sad, unsure then dad had a bad day, if she smiles and speaks with some joy in her tone, dad had a good day. I guess that's what happens when you have a happy 57 year marriage,  most everything is connected to that other persons well being.

Friday, January 30, 2015

CBC Radio Interview?

Not sure what the deal is on this but there might be a CBC radio interview related to the opening. Larry is probably handling this, not sure I will be needed. Still its nice to be noticed by the media, no doubt Larry and Joanna's professionalism is bringing this together.

Update* It is a radio interview and the reporter wants to talk to both Larry and myself.

Big Turn Out Expected For "Living on the Margins" Opening Reception, 100 Plus?

As with everything Larry and his wife Joanna put together this opening reception is going to be a first class event with an overflowing amount people attending. They do everything to the highest level, all the time, it's great to be a part of this. To be included in the flow of this thing is sort of dream like for me. When your a B type person seeing what a couple of A+ types can do, what they can create together, is rather amazing.

We are expecting a BIG turnout. On Larry's end there are 80 confirmed, possibly more attending. Luckily on my end not so much. I invited quite a few people but most will not attend. I probably invited 25 photography club people alone, but most of those folks do not attend photo shows or support photography in Edmonton (not sure why). I also invited some work colleagues plus a few relatives and general friends. I tried inviting some local art folks from the Alberta Gallery of Art, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts. The Edmonton Art Council, Visual Arts Alberta etc but doubt many of those folks will attend. Even with all those invites my confirmed attending end will probably be  30-35 folks. Still counting everyone along with the the open event call that's in the "Exposure Photography Festival" magazine we are talking upwards of 100 confirmed guests, with possibly another 20-40 maybes.

Next Saturday night the gallery should be rocking!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Final 3 Exhibition Photographs Framed

Here are the final 3 images for the Exposure Photography Festival, "Living on the Margins" exhibition. These 3 will make a total of 8 dad photographs, I might only be able to show 7 but thought having 8 was a good idea. The exhibition will be 7 or 8 "Dads Last Days" photos and 15 "Families of the Dump" photos (one an enlarged contact sheet). A total of 23 prints completed! Many challenges, lots of work, plenty of rewards, glad it's done, now I can rest a bit.

I will complete hanging the shows on Tuesday, 2 days ahead of the NAIT talk and 4 days ahead of the opening reception. Nicely timed!

Note* The center (print #7) square format portrait of dad is in the photo style I was thinking of using for the "Lost Innocence" brothel worker series. That pic was made with a blad, 80mm lens, extension tube and dedicated ringflash, with Tri-x.

Prints #6, #7 and #8 of "Dads Last Days" Series

Link: CNN Iconic Images

A nice selection of iconic images, a bit too America orientated, a few weaker photos but overall a solid selection.

Quote: Anthony de Mello

"Pleasant experiences make life delightful. Painful experiences lead to growth."

Portrait: "Baldassare Castiglione" By Raphael 1519

This portrait by Raphael was made in 1519 one year before Raphaels death at 37 years old. I love the eyes in this portrait, you really feel you understand this man, there is a calmness, depth, it's simply wonderful. Below that picture is a copy by Peter Paul Rubens, I like the inclusion of the hands but the expression is somehow more haunted, more menacing, less humanizing.

By Raphael 1519
By Peter Paul Rubens 1620

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Photo Idea: "Go Go Dancer"

I had a photo idea while I was walking my rounds. I keep thinking what I can show at the Toot Yung gallery in Bangkok. I came up with this "Go Go Dancer". This is how I see it, digital colour vertical portraits of go go dancers from the bars of Asia. Each picture would be of an individual dancer, in her bikini (no nudity) and wearing her number, just as she does on the stage for her customers. I would probably have to shoot it in a studio set up, maybe we a ring flash, or some kind of soft box setup. I am unsure of backgrounds, I am thinking something gaudy, silvery, goldish, shiny backdrops. The portraits need to be detailed, garish, sexual in a sad way and very honest.

If I did 10 different dancers, and then printed them very large, bright glossy colours with the incredible detail of digi (learned of that from Larry's work). I would do all the printing and framing in Bkk. I could have something here, a bit of documentary style work, a bit of high art. I could tell the story of the worker in a documentary way and yet still make higher end looking fine art (Larry Clark meets Helmut Newton). Doing a project like this is very achievable for me, I would be working in areas and with people that I have worked with extensively. If I could do it with the ring flash and carry the whole studio and all my camera gear in a backpack, that would be great. I could then set up in almost any room and make pictures anytime. I might even consider shooting the project in the Philippines, not Thailand.

An alternative series title might be "Go Go Girl". I could include some background info or just go with the persons nickname and age. Possible background info might be, how long they have worked the bar life, what part of the country they come, how big a family etc.That sort of infomation would help personalize and humanize the worker and lead to more empathy from the viewer.

As always more thought needed on this.

Note* This is the 100th blog of the month, a record! That's a lot of blogs. I never written 100 in one month, not in the 8 or so years I've been doing this.

Tonight's Framing

Feel rather shitty tonight, am getting less and less sleep before my night shifts. I need to finish off the flattening, spotting, matting and framing by Sunday night. I want to take down the finished prints to the gallery on Tuesday. The NAIT students come Thursday and the opening reception is Saturday. If can get everything hung and ready to go by Tuesday, I will have a few days to work on my artist talk. Everything seems to be on schedule, but it's tiring.

Here is tonight's framing.

1) A replacement photo for the "Families of the Dump" exhibit. I managed to print this rather difficult negative quite easily. The picture I am going to show is #2 of only 3 that I made. I made pictures of this young girl many times. She got used to me and always had such wonderful experessions, I felt her eyes were especially thoughtful. Growing up in this world, what kind of future can she hope for?  I gave the girls mother a food package including rice early on, later the mother showed me some rice in the palm of her hand, asking for more. I brought them a second bag the next day.

I will try to sell this print in the Alberta art acquisition buy. If I make any money, I will donate it back to the families.

Young girl resting on a hammock "Families of the Dump", Mae Sot Thailand 2013
2) Print number #5 for the "Dads Last Days" exhibit.

Dad on sofa summer of 2014, Canada

Link: Art Acquisition By Application 2015

I decided to give the art acquisition by application program at the "Alberta Foundation for the Arts" another try. I got one print in several years ago but ever since then nada. I will submit photos from the coming show that I have already printed. 2 from the "Dads Last Days" series and 3 from the "Families of the Dump" series.

Here is a link for those of you interested in trying to get your own work purchased and collected into the provincial art collection. The deadline is April 1.

Small Pleasures

It's amazing how the smallest things in life can give you the greatest pleasures. Today after work I went down to dad and moms house. I wanted to pick up some mat board as earlier I had taken the wrong board, I had white and needed off white. I also wanted to leave the two pics that I had framed (earlier blog) for dad to see.

When I got to their house I left the two framed prints in the living room and since dads room light was glowing I decided to peek in and see if he was OK. Dad was not sleeping, I guess he did not sleep all night and was quite hungry. He asked me to cut him two pieces of thinly sliced headcheese. I went to the kitchen and did as he asked. I cut the headcheese into easily handled thin squares and then took the plate with fork to dad. I then helped prop a pillow under his head so he could sit up a bit and eat more comfortably.

It is amazing how good I felt after doing something as simple as that. While I went and got my mat board dad ate up everything. I came back and we had a short talk. He told me how he still sometimes dreams and often in his dreams he is planning all the stuff he will do that day, he will do this and he will do that. Then dad wakes up and realizes he can do nothing, that he is trapped in bed.

When I was younger I worked at a veterans centre in dietary. I used to help the old men who lived there with their food. I used to talk and share stories with them, it was a great life experience. I was quite young, in my late teens and early 20s but I remember thinking at the time that I would be these men some day. I would be the guy in the wheel chair after a stroke had destroyed half by body, shuffling along with one arm and one leg down the hallway. I would be the guy with the inserted catheter peeing into a plastic bag. That would be me!

I need to do my things while I can. Soon I will be dad or I will be the men at the veterans centre. I cannot wait to much longer I need to get on with it. I need to start making my photographs with total commitment. I need to throw everything I have into my photography, before it's to late. I need to complete my goals so they can become a reality and or not only dreams. I need to pay back dads love with important photographs. I need to tell the stories of the forgotten people. I owe a huge debt to all those who have helped me in life, I need to repay it by making a positive contribution before my time is up.

Today thou giving dad his headcheese and hearing his thank you was more than enough for me, I feel happy.

Link: Elie Wiesel Noble Peace Prize Winning Acceptance Speech

I just finished reading Elie Wiesel's "Night" which deals with his families experiences during the holocaust. His Noble Peace prize winning acceptance speech was at the end of the book
Video Link To The Speech

                                           Elie Wiesel Noble Peace Prize Winning Speech

Oslo Norway, December 10, 1986

It is with a profound sense of humility that I accept the honor you have chosen to bestow upon me. I know: your choice transcends me. This both frightens and pleases me.
It frightens me because I wonder: do I have the right to represent the multitudes who have perished? Do I have the right to accept this great honor on their behalf? ... I do not. That would be presumptuous. No one may speak for the dead, no one may interpret their mutilated dreams and visions.
It pleases me because I may say that this honor belongs to all the survivors and their children, and through us, to the Jewish people with whose destiny I have always identified.
I remember: it happened yesterday or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the kingdom of night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.
I remember: he asked his father: "Can this be true?" This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?
And now the boy is turning to me: "Tell me," he asks. "What have you done with my future? What have you done with your life?"
And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.
And then I explained to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remain silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.
Of course, since I am a Jew profoundly rooted in my peoples' memory and tradition, my first response is to Jewish fears, Jewish needs, Jewish crises. For I belong to a traumatized generation, one that experienced the abandonment and solitude of our people. It would be unnatural for me not to make Jewish priorities my own: Israel, Soviet Jewry, Jews in Arab lands ... But there are others as important to me. Apartheid is, in my view, as abhorrent as anti-Semitism. To me, Andrei Sakharov's isolation is as much of a disgrace as Josef Biegun's imprisonment. As is the denial of Solidarity and its leader Lech Walesa's right to dissent. And Nelson Mandela's interminable imprisonment.
There is so much injustice and suffering crying out for our attention: victims of hunger, of racism, and political persecution, writers and poets, prisoners in so many lands governed by the Left and by the Right. Human rights are being violated on every continent. More people are oppressed than free. And then, too, there are the Palestinians to whose plight I am sensitive but whose methods I deplore. Violence and terrorism are not the answer. Something must be done about their suffering, and soon. I trust Israel, for I have faith in the Jewish people. Let Israel be given a chance, let hatred and danger be removed from her horizons, and there will be peace in and around the Holy Land.
Yes, I have faith. Faith in God and even in His creation. Without it no action would be possible. And action is the only remedy to indifference: the most insidious danger of all. Isn't this the meaning of Alfred Nobel's legacy? Wasn't his fear of war a shield against war?
There is much to be done, there is much that can be done. One person – a Raoul Wallenberg, an Albert Schweitzer, one person of integrity, can make a difference, a difference of life and death. As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our lives will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.
This is what I say to the young Jewish boy wondering what I have done with his years. It is in his name that I speak to you and that I express to you my deepest gratitude. No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.
Thank you, Chairman Aarvik. Thank you, members of the Nobel Committee. Thank you, people of Norway, for declaring on this singular occasion that our survival has meaning for mankind.

2 More Framed Dad Show Prints

Here are two framed and matted prints I will put into the "Dads Last Days" part of the coming exhibition. I brought white mat board not my normal off white to work today so cut the over mats with that style board. I think it suits the cooler tone classic Ilford fibre paper I used. I will probably leave this color mat in for these 2 pics only, the rest will be off white, hope that looks OK. I now have 4 of 8 dad show prints completed.

The mats are getting much easier to cut. I am actually getting quite good at it. It's partially because I bought quality mat cutting equipment to work with but mostly because I have just been cutting lots of mats. With 5 larger shows over the last 4 years, I have gotten closer to perfecting my cutting and measureing techniques. Like anything else, familiarity with your tools and lots of work leads to a higher quality product. Less over cuts, less crooked cuts, less corner tears, practise practise practise, makes perfect.

Dad soon after finding out he had cancer, around April 2014

Raphael Portrait

I quite like this portrait Raphael did of pope Julius II, there is an honesty to it. Most portraits of that time period seem to glorify the ego of the subject, this work seems true, honest. Julius II was the pope who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the roof of the Sistine Chapel. You got to like a pope who paid for the frescos on the Sistine and also had the courage to allow Raphael to paint his true nature, to show the underlying feelings of his heart. He is worthy of this portrait.

Pope Julius II by Raphael, 1511

Monday, January 26, 2015

Invisible Photographs

Well I did not get a photograph into the Exposure magazine either. I am the invisible photo series. I guess they did not like the images or they did not think they were important enough to show. I feel like I let my subjects down. I did not live up to the debt I owed them. They are being ignored and forgotten. It is my fault, I failed them.

Links: "Exposure Photography Festival" Exhibition Magazines PDF

Got word from Larry today that the "Exposure Photography Festival" exhibition hard copy magazines have arrived. I will pick up a bunch of copies as soon as I can and help distribute them around. Hopefully Exposure will become a regular part of Edmonton's art scene.

I am having trouble as usual getting much of a response from any photo club folks in regards to promoting photography in Edmonton. Hopefully a few of these cats will turn up for the opening night when all the big wigs from Exposure in Calgary are in town. Sometimes the indiference from so many folks, even supposed lovers of photography to help promote Edmonton's photo scene is frustrating. It gets tiring to fight for something others could care less about and are indifferent to.

Here are links to the "Exposure 2015" magazine and the "Exposure Photography Festival" site. 

Link: Vue Weekly Exhibition Advertistment

Found this online today. A nice little advert in a local arts paper for the our coming exhibition. Please come down and see the exhibitons if your interested.

All Equipment In Play

Well I put in about 7 hours into the secondary printing. I am now into the final wash and drying faze of things. In my darkroom I have numerous archival washers (11x14, 16x20 and 20x24) and multiples sets of drying screens, everything is in play today. I have 2 washers going both the 16x20 and 20x24 as well as 3 sets of drying screens ready for use.  I have so many prints to wash I am not sure if I have enough screens to dry them on.

I do not like to leave my prints wet too long as it damages them. I have noticed damage happening to my photos (the emulsion lifts off) after little more than a day wet. I need to get these babies washed and in drying mode as soon as I can. Luckily I bought some drying screens a while back from Jon a older photo friend who quit darkroom work and also got a free drying rack and screens from another photo friend Court. I will need all that stuff today!

I am thinking I might be looking for another 20x24 washer in the future, one of higher quality and maybe even a larger 16x20 washer. The problem with these things id that they are so damn big and heavy they are very expensive to buy and ship. I will probably make do with what I got, they are good enough for my use. It is not like I am constantly selling prints and printing exhibitions. Over the last 4 years it has worked out to one majorish exhibition every 9 months or so. I have had 5 since July 2011.

I needed a good week of darkroom work and I got that done. As a bonus I also hung the majority of my "Families of the Dump" show at the Louie Photography Gallery on 124. Things are looking pretty good. Will finish the washing and the drying the prints, tomorrow after work I will start the flattening process.

Night folks I am exhausted.

Update* Even with all my screens I ran out of room to dry my prints. I had to hang 3 photos by clips in my negative drying cabinet. I managed to get the photos into drying mode in less than 12 hours, so they were not wet too long, no damage.

Secondary Printing On Last Of Show Prints

Tonight I decided to jump directly into the secondary printing process since I have so much to do and this is one of the last off work days I have to do it in. I just counted my prints and I need to do at least 3-12 print cycles of bleaching and toning tonight. These photos are made on a mixed bag of fibre papers so its a bit of guess work on my part. The stuff I did on Ilford warm tone should be easy to handle, the other images are touchy to work with.  I have limited pre knowledge on what is likely to happen when I attack the paper with bleach (how much bleach? how fast will it work?) and selenium toner (what dilution works best for how long?).

I might have to do more printing possibly on my coming work week after 12 hour night shifts which is very hard (got me sick last time when I tried it). Still the work needs to be done, no excuses. Sacrifice and hard work usually leads to good things. Overall I think I am sitting quite comfortably. I am replacing one families print and need 5 dad prints completed by February 5 when the students come for the talk. I am well on my way to achieving those goals.

Doing the secondary printing now along with washing, drying and flattening will allow me to see exactly where I am in the process. I am taking my mat cutter and frames plus some board to work this week. I need to cut at least 5 mats maybe more. I only have 2 prints of that final "Families of the Dump" negative so will probably have to go there again. I still have the negative in the enlarger and all the printing instructions so I should be able to get out 2 or 3 prints in a couple hours if needed.

Now a quick bite then its 6-10 hours or so of darkroom work.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Link: Raphael (1483-1520)

I have started to study the work of Raphael, a contemporary to Michelangelo. Raphael died at the young age of 37 where as Michelangelo lived to the ripe old age of  89 (16 days shy of 90), which was very very old in the 1500s. Back then doctors believed in things like bleeding a person.

I love the beauty of Raphael's portrait work, there is a real vitality and humanity to it. Hopefully learning about his life and studying his work will help me with my large format portraiture.

 Bindo Altoviti oil on wood by Raphael, Rome Italy 1510

"Child Leaning Against Hammock" Print

After several hours of tests and mask making this is my first attempt at a final print. With the next version I will darken both the right and left lower corner sections further as well as the background workers somewhat. I will also try a version with a 1/2 grade higher contrast on the child.

I have 2 masks, 2 contrast grades, multiple big burns, one small burn and one big dodge in this print. As my printing skills improve these things are getting easier to handle. I am also back to using my main paper Ilford FB warm tone, which is quite comforting. Simplification leads to confident creation.

I think this might be one of better photographs in the show. I am glad I eventually got round to printing it. I think I was a scared by the negative before but now it seems not as intimidating. I remember way back to when I shot it. I thought by exposing for the shadows in the foreground where my subject was the background was going to be a bitch to print. There must have been 3 or 4  maybe 5 stops more light on the background dump area. It is not as hard a neg to make as I thought it would be. Here are some quick digi shots I just took as the print lay in the fix. Now on to version 2-3-4!

Update* I ended doing 2 more versions 1 with 3 contrast filters (the first time I have ever used 3 in a print). There were 13 steps involved in the last 2 prints. I will wash them, let them dry then after my sleep see where they stand. I will probably make at least 2 more versions tonight. Then it will be on to secondary processing of all remaining exhibition photographs. Next week at work I want to do the final spotting, matting and framing. Then 2 days before the NAIT students arrive for the talk I will put everything into the gallery.

Note* The contrast filters used were #3, #2 1/2 and #-1 for the mask burning.

First attempt child leaning against hammock, Mae Sot Thailand garbage dump  2013
Detail child learning against hammock

Sony DSC-RX100M II

This camera has 20.2 megapixels and runs $550-650 USD. A bonus is it has 1080P HD video which I could use to make exhibition back story context videos like the one I made for the coming "Families of the Dump" show. I would never pay that much for ia digi point and shoot unless I was going for a 6 month trip. This type of technology changes so fast I would need 6 months of constant use to justify the cost. If I do take a longer trip a camera like this might be well worth the investment.

High End Digi Point And Shoot?

I misplaced the small point and shoot camera I used in the dump in 2013. The camera was a great friend maker as many of the pics I made with it I gave to the people for free. If I cannot find the camera I will forced to buy another. This got me thinking.

Why not buy the best digi, the highest megapixel point on shooter on the market. I can then use it for 2 purposes, one to give away free photos in places like the dump, and two I can use it to do some serious photography. One of the problems you face when your photographing in the bar world of Southeast Asia is that folks are afraid of cameras, but a point and shoot? Why be afraid of that? Everyone has one of them! Of course it will not be a good a camera as my Leica's or my Canon Mark II but it will produce good enough quality images and more importantly it might allow me to shoot in places I would not normally be able to make pictures.

Something to think about, I can possibly kill two birds with one stone (thats a strange expression, who invented that one?). I still want to produce something important to for the gallery in Bangkok, this idea could lead down that road. Doing the work digital would also allow me to do all the printing and framing in Thai which would greatly lower costs.

Quote: Mark Twain

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Enough Dad Pics?

I think I might have enough photos for the dad show now, I have 8 printed, hopefully at least 7 will be good. I wish I had one or 2 more photos of dad to work with, I am cutting it a bit close. I need to get to the girl image in the last blog first, maybe I will have time yet to make 1 more dad photo if needed.

Potential Strong Image?

When I was shooting this picture back in November of 2013, I thought it had strong possibilities. Quite often when your making pics you know if you got something good or not almost immediately. I remember back in my photo life to various times where I had that feeling. Like when I was photographing Lewis with a needle in his arm shooting up a heroin-cocaine speed ball back in West Oakland or when I had Matt in the studio and she was posing in her half man half woman way in Pattaya Thailand. It was the same with this image, I felt something special was there. I later sort of forgot about shot, chose another pic of the same girl from a different time that is currently hanging at the gallery. I wanted to print another neg of the dump to place into the show as a replacement print but could not find it then came upon this forgotten negative tonight. It a bit like fate was pulling me back to it. Somehow it became inevitable that it would be shown.

The photo is of the young girl leaning up against hammock in the shade with multiple people and a grater working behind her in the distance under a very bright hot sun. I think this photograph has the potential to be very good, maybe even a very strong image. It tells the story of this girls life, it speaks to what most likely awaits her in the future. The softness and beauty of the young child is overshadowed by the difficult life she will be forced to live.

Here is a mask I made for the girl against the hammock neg. As you can see she is quite dark and the background blown out. I am made 2 masks for this photo, hopefully in the next few hours I will have something passable and in 5 or 6 a viable print. I do not care how long it takes I will work a week straight to bring this neg to life. This is why I do photography, to tell the stories of forgotten people, I can now tell this girls story and show her to the people of Edmonton and Calgary at the opening on Feb 7.

When I get this photograph printed and in the show, I think I will make it one of my story videos for YouTube. Now enough of this writing shit, I got to make this photo sing!

Mask #2 young girl leaning on hammock, Mae Sot garbage dump November 2013

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tonights Work

I put in quite a few hours on 2 dad photographs for the coming show last night. I think both photos will be used so it was a good printing session for me. I am getting to really love prints made with, 35mm Tri-x, a sharp condenser enlarger, bleach and higher contrast filters. The look is so unique so powerful. It creates something so unique so different than digi photos.

I think if I had to choose one format to use the rest of my life it was be 35mm Tri-x with the Leica's. The blad is nice to shoot and some of the wackier things I make photos with like the Banarama 4x5 with flash and the Hasselblad 35mm panoramic are fun but they do not have the same power as the Leicas and straight 35. The only thing that might compete for me at present is my Linhof view camera (4x5) with Tri-x. Still if I had to choose it would probably be the Leica's and Tri-x. No wonder the photographers I admire most, Salgado, Eugene Smith, Larry Clark all worked that way. There is something truly powerful in this method of creating photographs.

Here are some snaps of the 2 photos I worked on today. Both were shot with Leica's and Tri-x at 800ASA and given stand development.

Dad on bed 21mm F2.8 lens
 First attempt dad head down 28mm F2 lens

A Few Dad Photos

I have not shot many photos of dad over the last few months. Most times when I am visiting seems to be happening photographically and when it is I am in the middle of it helping my father so cannot take pics. Here are a few shots from a film I developed yesterday, 800 stand Tri-x. The pics were made over quite a long period. Once I print the show I will be able to make more pics of dad. I am thinking of moving the white background studio upstairs so I can photograph him in the living room using the 8x10 camera. I ask if that is OK to do, if he agrees I will do it my first week off after the opening.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Supplies, Free Home Delivery

I received my order of cool tone Ilford Fibre and Potassium Ferricyanide from B&H today. It was waiting on my doorstep when I woke up from my afternoon nap. You got to love it, free shipping and home delivery. When I am older and in worse physical shape that kind of service will be essential. I can just stay home, have all my supplies delivered free to the front door and print baby print!

I will not be able to try out the cool tone stuff until after I finish the show printing. My hope is that I can eventually only use 2 photo papers, Ilford warm and cool tone. That way I will really get to learn the paper and how they work with my negs. I will completely learn how they develop, tone, and how they bleach. This could be the start of a very creative darkroom period. If you want to become a master printer you really need to know your tools. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction. I am to much of a jack rabbit hopping from paper to paper, by simplifying I should become a better printer.

I am still waiting on the 3 rolls of bulk Tri-x I ordered a few days ago, expect that to take at least another week to arrive. The bulk film is from and also includes free home delivery shipping. When I use the film will depend if it is outdated (it might be by a bit), if it is not outdated the film when it arrives will go right into the freezer, I will probably not use it for 5 plus years. If it is outdated it will move to the top of the batting order depending how it fits into my other outdated Tri-x 35mm.

With the 1lb. bottle of Potassium Ferricyanide I got today I probably have around 2 pounds of the stuff. I had another old bottle of PF (bleach) that I forgot about, must have picked it up at a estate auction I went to a few years back. I am doing more and more bleaching now, so no doubt will eventually use it all up. What I have now should last me at least 3-4 maybe 5-6 years. I find when I do my spray bottle bleaching method I use up a fair amount of PF quite fast. It's not that expensive a chemical and is readily available, so this should not be a problem.

Working On Talk

Spent an hour or so trying to itemize the topics I want to go over for my coming exhibition talks. Basically it breaks to this.

- Thank you's to a variety of folks
- Who I am, my photo history
- Current exhibition projects

I have a bunch of stuff written up but will not have notes when I talk. I want to just have some ideas in my head that I will go over in written form before I speak. I will talk directly to the folks and not use notes. I have done it this way ever artist talk so I am not going to change now. I think people respond better when you are animated and looking them in the eye and speak from the heart, not when your head is down and your reading.

The goal is to improve at these things each time out. These will be my 5th and 6th artist talks.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Todays Negative And Dad Tonight

I think last nights printing went pretty well. I have several prints to work with in the secondary processing which I will do on Sunday. I am now moving on to a full body shot of dad laying in bed. I will make up a mask and see what it looks like in 16x20 and move on from there. I have several possible 35mm, 120 and a 5x7 neg to work with.

I am thinking it might be fun to try the 5x7 negative simply because I can print it with my new (used) free 5x7 enlarger which I got from Jack last year. I have only printed with that enlarger a little bit. To make up a large 16x20 fibre show print with it would be loads of fun.

On todays visit to dad he was not talking much, he ate a single piece of pork ribs that I brought him along with a few salted nuts that I also brought. The bring food thing worked yet again. I think dad feels obligated to eat something because his son gave it to him. I know he will really be in trouble when he stops eating the food I bring him. His blood pressure is down, up until now it has been OK. After we helped him to bed he said thank you in such a sweet voice when I kissed him on the forehead goodnight. Tomorrow I will bring him the USB stick and show my father pics from the family album on his 60 inch Sony TV. He noticeably perks up when I show family pics, especially of his grandchildren.

Dad Better Tonight

Dad was better tonight, eating a bit more during the day. He seemed happy that I am doing all this photo show stuff for him. He is happy he will be remembered and talked about. Mom read him the statement, poem etc plus the saw the colour picture I will show when he was healthy. I told him the gasp story and he seemed to like that as well.

When I visited today we spent lots of time going over old pics. I put a bunch on a USB stick and showed it to mom and dad on the their new Sony TV. I will put more and do the same tonight (639am as I write this, been working much of the night). We also talked what photos he wants in the journal and funeral card.

Dad does not walk anymore and even standing for him is difficult. Mom and I have to move him in the wheelchair to his bedroom at night, then we move him till he is comfortable in bed. I so want dad to stay with us but I also do not want him to suffer. I think he has entered the badder part of all this. At least he does not seem to be in any pain. What bothers him is losing all the freedoms he has lost, he hates to be a bother to anyone. I told him not to worry about that, that I enjoy helping him. I tell him that he took care of me for so long whats wrong with me doing the same for him? He does not see it that way, he hates being a burden or bother.

At least his head is clear he can talk and think clearly and still can eat and enjoy food. When your 1 year into pancreatic cancer you got to take and enjoy whats left for you, not worry about what you lost. The problem is each day, what you got gets smaller and smaller.

Three years ago he came to my last show at the Louie gallery, he was healthy walking, laughing and smiling. How quickly stuff changes. The other day I saw the brown vest he wore that night, the vest is the same but dad has changed. He wants to come to this show but its impossible of course. We all need to take advantage of our days while we can, things change in a heartbeat.

Still Struggling With Dad Print

Still working on the dad print from last time off. Made two attempts at it and ran out of the one photo paper I was using. Now onto another paper but not sure which it is, seems a bit better to work with. Not knowing your tools makes things so difficult. Still I have to use up all this old stuff before it goes bad.  I have enough of this paper to probably do this print and at least one more neg, maybe two more.

Update* I managed to print 5 more pics with the second mystery paper. It gave a bit more tonality to the image that worked well. I think one of those 5 should work for the show. I am doing the first wash, will let the prints dry and then look them over tomorrow. If I need to make one or two more I will do so tomorrow.

I think my next neg will be a full length 35mm horizontal of dad in bed. I will try and print 8 photos with the hope of getting 7 that work. If I got the photo today, that makes 6, so need 2 more workable negs. I am eyeing a 5x7 negative along with several 35mm and 1 or 2 120 negs. Not sure which ones I will choose.

Bought More Bulk Tri-x

I ordered more film from even thou I probably do not need it. I have a problem laying off Tri-x when there is discount. In the past I have been criticized for buying film instead of spending it on social outings. Film is the heart of analog photography, especially when you find a good one, buy and shoot it to death!!! With Kodak being so fragile the more Tri-x I have in my freezers the safer I feel. I probably have a 10-15 year supply now, maybe even 20 years. That is comforting. I am almost set for life.

B&H Tri-x bulk 100 feet  $94.95 USD
Henry Camera Tri-x bulk 100 feet  $119.99 CAD Tri-x bulk 100 feet  $70.97 CAD

I bought 3 more rolls of this stuff, it is not outdated so I will probably use this last after I shoot the other several dozen boxes I have in my freezers. I saved about $49 a roll. I also got free shipping. I wonder how many boxes of bulk Tri-x I have? I have it in 2 or maybe 3 different deep freezers so never counted, I might have as many as 50 or possibly even more. Guess I should stop buying and start shooting. If I take an extended trip  (6 months plus) I would probably shoot 15 boxes or more.
Throw in the 120, 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 Tri-x and thats a ton of film!!!

Bulk 100 foot Tri-x

Story Videos

I plan to follow the advice of James an online friend and make some Story Videos soon. Got my gear together, am a bit worried about sound quality but I am going to give it a try. Probably make up 3 or 4 different videos of me standing in front of the photo and telling stories. James sent me some links with Sebastiao Salgado doing this and they were very effective vids. Of course my photos are not Salgado quality but I should be able to tell some entertaining tales.

I do not really like the idea of being in front of the camera instead of behind it. Will probably do the vids in the weeks after the opening when I have more time for that sort of thing. I have never thought the photos were about me, about being a famous person/artist/photographer. I have always dreamed of making photos that tell the stories of my subjects, I am unimportant. I have to move in front of the camera for this project, which is a bit unnerving. But if it is for a good cause, if the Video Stories can help raise awareness about the people who I photograph, I am all for it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Link: "Families of the Dump" Mae Sot Project, Part of "Living on the Margins" Exhibition Tour

Here is a link to the high quality version for the "Families of the Dump" exhibition walk through video.

The Gasp Thingy

One kind of neat moment happened today. When I was hanging the work a nice lady who works at Larry's shop came upstairs and saw a print of dad (unframed) which was in an open box. She let out a gasp and said some kind complimentary stuff. That is the goal of documentary photography, the gasp thingy. It does not happen often with my photos but when you hear a gasp, you know your story telling is on the mark!

Now Onward To Finish The Dad Photographs

Now with the dump part of the show hung, I need to concentrate on finishing the dad series. I have to print 3 more photos the rest of this week, and then do secondary printing on 5 photos. I will also need to cut at least 1 mat as well as frame and spot the photographs. I have to get this all up by February 4th. The NAIT students are coming to see the work and hear us talk on Thursday the 5th, everything needs to be completed before they arrive.

A long day, now I need a good nights sleep and will wake early to print my father!

"Ain't Photography Grand!"

Large Advertising Posters

Larry paid just under $400 for these large advertising posters to put into his shop windows. These things are huge and quite beautiful. I plan to put mine up in my home as a piece of artwork later on. These things are freaking huge and printed directly onto the foam core board. There is a bit of a purple cast the images but overall these things are stunning and powerful forms of advertising.

Video: "Families of the Dump" Mae Sot Project, Part of "Living on the Margins" Exhibition Tour

Here is a very quick walk through video of the "Families of the Dump" exhibition.

Hung The "Families of the Dump" Show

Well I hung the "Families of the Dump" (Mae Sot Project) Living on the Margins show today at the Louie Gallery on 124 street here in Edmonton. I ended up getting 15 photos (one is an enlarged contact sheet) into the small room, I think it looks pretty good. Maybe its a tad crowded but not too bad. I also put up my foam core artist statement, its not as nice as the ones Larry had printed, but it should be fine

Here are the pics of the show layout.

Poem: "Beer Bar Blues"

While I was painfully waiting 2 hours today as part of my security guard license renewal I read Allen Ginsberg poetry. I thought why not write a fun little poem myself. What subject? I remembered back to the Western sex tourist guys and sex pats (long time retired sex tourists living in Thai) and their experiences in the beer bars of Pattaya (Thailand's main red light district). In Pattaya I often saw guys in beer bars chasing girls, playing silly board type games and getting wasted in the afternoon, day after day after day. This poem is dedicated to them. It took me 5-10 minutes to put together this master work : )

Beer Bar Blues
Bargirls here and there
   What's the deal with the hair?

Get me a beer 
   My sweet little dear

Play a game?
   Oh but that's so lame

Wanna fuck!
   What?! You want a buck!

Noon and high
   Time to say goodbye

Beer bar Pattaya Thailand

Poem: "Sphincter" By Allen Ginsberg

If you can write a poem about this subject, your pretty well able to write about anything. Ginsberg does lots of stuff tongue in cheek, with humorous intention. This falls into that category.

I hope my good old asshole holds out
60 years it's been mostly OKTho in Bolivia a fissure operation
survived the altiplano hospital--
a little blood, no polyps, occasionally
a small hemorrhoid
active, eager, receptive to phallus
coke bottle, candle, carrot
banana & fingers -
Now AIDS makes it shy, but still
eager to serve -
out with the dumps, in with the condom'd
orgasmic friend -
still rubbery muscular,
unashamed wide open for joy
But another 20 years who knows,
old folks got troubles everywhere -
necks, prostates, stomachs, joints--
Hope the old hole stays young
till death, relax 

Flash Photographic Fest In Winnipeg

Here is info on a new photography festival I learned of last night. It is held in Winnipeg Canada and runs through October each year. I inquired into submission requirements and got a very quick and informative reply from Flash's executive producer. This seems like a festival well worth checking out and entering if you have the chance. Go for it folks!

Here is the link info:

List Of World Wide Photography Festivals

I found this of interest, a world wide list of photo festivals. Exposure my current festival is on this as is PhotoNOLA which I participated in last year. This list is from the Telegraph Newspaper in the UK.  They always have a bunch of great photography related stories. Thanks Jim G for telling me about this paper and its wonderful photo coverage. Maybe next year I will be in another of these festivals. I am getting to like these things. Places like Lagos in Nigeria or Angkor in Cambodia, would be a blast to show your work in.

All the festivals below have links, good luck folks try some out, get your work seen internationally.

International Photography Festival Round-up

FOTOFusion, West Palm Beach (Florida), 14 January– 19 January 
Mostra Sao Paulo de Fotografia (Sao Paulo), 25 January - 23 February 
Dusseldorf Photo Weekend, Dusseldorf (Germnay), 31 January – 2 February 
Exposure, Calgary/Banff/Canmore (Canada), throughout February 
Yangon Photo Festival, Yangon (Myanmar), 13 Februray – 18 Februray 
Photobiennale, Moscow, 18 February – 8 June 
Photofest Querétaro, Querétaro (Mexico), 10 March – 14 March 
FORMAT, International Photography Festival (Derby) 13 March - 12 April 
FotoFest – Biennial of Photography and Photo-related Art (Houston), 15 March – 27 April 
International Biennial of Photography and Visual Arts, Liège (Belgium), 15 March – 15 May 
Festival de Fotografia de Tiradentes, Tiradentes (Brazil), 26 March – 30 March 
New York Photo Festival (New York), 28 January – 25 April 
Fotofestival Knokke-Heist, Knokke-Heist (Belgium), 30 March – 9 June 
Belfast Photo Festival - Youth Edition (Belfast), April 
MOPLA – Month of Photography Los Angeles (Los Angeles), April 
AIPAD Photography Show (New York), 10 – 13 April 
Kyotographie, Kyoto (Japan), 19 April – 11 May 
World Press Photo Awards Days (Amsterdam), 24 April – 25 April 
Paris Photo (Los Angeles), 25 April – 27 April 
Hyères – Festival of Fashion and Photography, Hyères (France), 26 April -29 April 
Palm Springs Photo Festival, Palm Springs (California), 27 April – May 2 
Riga Photo Month, Riga (Latvia), starts 28 April - 30 July 
Flash Forward Festival, Boston, 1 – 4 May 
Diffusion, Cardiff, 1 – 31 May 
Rovinj Photodays, Rovinj (Croatia), 2 May – 4 May 
CONTACT Photo Festival (Toronto), 2 May – 1 June 
Fotografia Europea, Reggio Emilia (Italy), 2 May – 15 June 
Nordic Light Festival, Kristiansund (Norway), 6 – 10 May 
European Festival of Nude Photography, Arles (France), 8 – 18 May 
Hong Kong International Photo Festival (Hong Kong), 10 May - 31 July 
Head On Photo Festival (Sydney), 12 May – 8 June 
PhotOn Festival, Valencia (Spain), 12 May – 27 July 
Pa-ta-ta, Granada (Spain), 13 – 31 May 
Krakow Photomonth Festival, Krakow (Poland), 15 May – 15 June 
PhotoExperienceMadrid (Madrid), 16 – 18 May 
Photo Romania Festival, Cluj-Napoca (Romania), 16 May – 25 May 
Les Boutographies, Montpellier (France), 17 May – 1 June 
FotoFestival Naarden, Naarden (The Netherlands), will come back in 2015 (last edition was held from 18 May to 23 June) 
London Photo Festival, London, 22 May – 24 May 
Photomed – Festival of Mediterannean Photography (Toulon), 22 May – 15 June 
Kaunas Photo Festival, Kaunas (Lithuania), 23 May – 12 October (with main part of the program beginning on 4 September) 
Reportage Festival (Sydney), will come back in 2015 (last edition was held from 25 May to 13 June) 
Tbilisi Photo Festival, Tbilisi (Georgia), 28 May – 3 June 
ImagesSingulières, Sète (France), 28 May to 15 June 
Fotorama Fest, Kragujevac (Serbia), 29 May – 1 June 
Festival Photo La Gacilly, La Gacilly (France), 31 May – 30 September 
Photometria, Ioannina (Greece), 4 – 15 June 
PhotoEspana (Madrid), 4 June – 27 July 
Fotofestiwal, Lodz (Poland), 5 June – 15 June 
Copenhagen Photo Festival (Copenhagen), 5 June – 15 June 
Fotoleggendo, Rome, from 5 June 
GRID Photo Festival, Amsterdam, 6 June – 4 July 
Transphotographique, Lille (France), 5 June – 6 July 
Photobook Bristol, Bristol (UK), 6 June -8 June (1st Edition) 
F/stop Photography Festival, Leipzig (Germany), 6 June – 15 June 
Les Nuits Photographiques (Paris), 12 June – 2 August 
Look3, Charlottesville (USA), 13 June – 14 June 
Browse FotoFestival, Berlin, Back in 2015 
Vienna Photo Book Festival (Vienna), 14 June – 15 June 
Rendez-vous photo du Richelieu, Montérégie (Canada), 14 June – 1 September 
Festival Internationale de la Photographie de Mode, Cannes (France), 15 June – 29 August 
Lumix – Festival for Young Photojournalists, Hannover (Germany), 18 June – 22 June 
Summer of Photography (Brussels), 18 June – 31 August 
SCHAU Photo Festival, Dortmund (Germany), 20 – 22 June 
The Eye – International Photography Festival, Aberystwyth (Wales), 27 – 29 June 
WARM Festival, Sarajevo, 28 June – 2 July (1st Edition) 
PhotoIreland, Dublin, 1 to 31 July 
Antiparos Photo Festival, Antiparos (Greece), 4 July -13 July 
Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles (France), 7 July – 21 September 
Cortona On The Move, Cortona (Italy), 17 July – 28 September 
Obscura Festival, Penang (Malaysia), 11 – 31 August 
Foto Bienal MASP (Sao Paulo), 15 August – 17 November 
Getxophoto, Getxo (Spain), 28 August – 28 September 
Visa pour l’Image, Perpignan (France), August 30 - September 14 
MAP – Festival de la Photo Amateur, Toulouse (France), 1 September - 30 September 
Fotoseptiembre USA, San Antonio (USA), 1 – 30 September 
Photo Shanghai, Shanghai, 5 – 7 September 
Backlight Photo Festival, Tampere (Finland), 5 September - 12 September 
Images, Vevey (Switzerland), 13 September – 5 October 
Photography Oxford, Oxford (UK), 14 September – 5 October 
Internationale Photoszene Köln, Köln (Germany), 16 – 21 September 
Guernsey Photography Festival, Guernsey (France), 18 September - 18 October 
Unseen Photo Fair, Amsterdam, 18 September – 21 September 
Photoville (New York), 18 September - 28 September 
Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao (China), 19 September - 25 September 
Festival ManifestO, Toulouse and Tournefeuille (France), 19 September - 4 October 
Encontros da Imagem, Braga (Portugal), 19 September - 31 October 
Filter Photo Festival, Chicago, 24 September – 28 September 
Paraty em Foco – Festival Internacional de Fotografia, Paraty (Brazil), 24 September– 28 September 
PhotoMidwest, Madison (USA), 25 September through October 
Organ Vida, Zagreb (Croatia), 26 September – 10 October 
Noorderlicht Photofestival, Groningen (The Netherlands), 31 August - 26th October 
Singapore International Photography Festival (Singapore), 3 October - 30 October 
Fotobook Festival, Kassel (Germany), returning in 2015 
LagosPhoto, Lagos (Nigeria), 25 October - 26 November 
Zoom Photo Festival, Saguenay (Canada), 29 October - 23 November 
Newcastle Photo Fest, Newcastle (UK), 20 – 26 October 
Fotografia – Festival Internazionale di Roma, (Rome), 5 October - 8 December 
Internazionale, Ferrara (Italy), dates to be announced (last edition was held from 3 October - 5 October 
Photo Levallois, Levallois (France), 10 October - 15 November 
Photoreporter, Baie de Saint-Brieuc (France), 11 October - 2 November 
FotoFocus, Cincinnati (USA), 8 October - 1 November 
BredaPhoto, Breda (The Netherlands), 11 September – 26 October 
European Month of Photography Berlin, (Berlin), 16 October – 16 November. 
SCAN Tarragona, Tarragona (Spain), 16 October - 21 December 
Brighton Photo Biennial, Brighton (UK), 4 October - 2 November 
Festival of Ethical Photography, Lodi (Italy), October 
Outono Fotografico, Galiza (Spain), 21 October – 21 December 
Medium, San Diego (California), 24 October - 26 October 
Festival Internacional Fotografia Valparaiso, Valparaiso (Chile), 31 October – 9 November 
Eyes On – Month of Photography Vienna, Vienna, 28 October – 30 November 
Hungarian Month of Photography, Budapest, 29 October - 7 December 
Paris Photo, 13 – 16 November 
LensCulture FotoFest Paris, 11 - 13 November 
Mesiac Fotografie (Month of Photography), Bratislava (Slovakia), November 
Angkor Photo Festival, Angkor (Cambodia), 29 November – 6 December 
Mois de la Photo, Paris, returning 2015 
Festival Internacional de Fotografia de Cabo Verde, Mindelo (Cape Verde), 14 November - 12 December 
PHOTOLUX Festival, Lucca, 23 November - 15 December 
Angkor Photo Festival, Siem Reap, Cambodia, 29 November - 6 December
Miami Street Photography Festival, (Miami), 4 December - 7 December 
PhotoNOLA, (New Orleans), 4 December - 7 December 
Addis Foto Fest, Addis Abeba (Ethiopia), 1 December - 7 December